O'Brien: 'We'll keep pushing'

Head coach Tom O'Brien answered questions from the media following the Pack's spring practice session on Tuesday.

You said you were impressed with the physicality of Saturday's scrimmage. What's been different this year as opposed to the last two years?

"It's what we've been trying to do anyway since we've been here. That's one of the things that was a trademark of our football team at Boston College, being a strong, physical football team. We haven't even been close to those types of things since we've been here. I think we're finally getting the hang of it and figuring out what we have to do. We'll keep pushing and keep trying to be stronger and tougher."

Is the physical play a result of having more bodies or something else?

"We actually have less healthy guys now than we've had guys are just working. That's the way it is.

Talk some about Nate's development and how he did Saturday. Did the offensive line have any trouble with the defensive line and linebackers during the scrimmage?

"The matchup and some of the things that happen in the scrimmage doesn't mean that anybody blocked him or didn't block him. It's the first scrimmage so I don't get excited about any of those things. Nate isn't anywhere close to where he was. In comparison he's ahead of where Toney Baker was in a similar spot at this time last year. He's got a long way to go but certainly him being out there is a big help to the defense. We're trying to take care of him and not overwork him to make sure that something doesn't get hurt again. It's a question of managing properly and knowing he'll be much better in August than he will be in even a week or so."

How has Rashard Smith looked? Is he healthy?

"Rashard's healthy enough but he's got a long way to go. He's got to play better than he played Saturday that's for sure. He's got to step it up and a lot of guys do."

Does Nate's status now make you excited based on how things worked out with Toney Baker last season?

"You'd think we could Nate back to full speed. That's the thing. Right now he's trying to learn the position, it's a lot different than what he's played before and he has a lot more responsibilities so right now the thing is the mental part. If he does the mental things now, once he catches up physically he'll be ready to go."

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